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Hudson Valley Press

November 13th, 2013

Ebenezer Baptist Church turns 105

City of Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy, center, recognizes Leroy Parker and Audrey Mayes of Ebenezer Baptist Church during the church’s 105th anniversary service on Sunday.
City of Newburgh - It all started with a prayer mission. Now, 105 years later it has evolved into a vibrant church whose growing population has become a pivotal segment of the City of Newburgh.

Sunday, the Ebenezer Baptist Church officially celebrated its 105th anniversary milestone. Complete with energetic singing, rhythmic dancing, inspirational prayer and guest dignitaries, the all-day affair was embedded with the theme, “We must worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth.” The celebration paid tribute to a church whose origins run deep. Born in 1908 under an organized prayer mission, the Church was formerly located on North Water Street; in the 1950’s it relocated to its present residence, 76 First Street/Montgomery Street. Registered as an official New York State Landmark, which houses the Fashold Clock, it was one of the original sponsors of the Burton Towers, a senior/ handicap residence in Newburgh that opened its doors in 1980. Ebenezer also was the setting for a week-long revival, hosted by the late national televangelist, Dr. E.V. Hill in the 1980’s. Most recently, it has welcomed a new Pastor, Dr. Reverend Bruce Davis.

“At this time, two years ago, we were without a pastor; now, we have Dr. Davis, who has moved this Church tremendously,” said Deacon Elsworth Banks, a member of Ebenezer for the past 15 years. “We did not have a pastor for three years; now the enrollment has improved, and the spirit has been lifted, as he is bringing in new members each Sunday.

Many of those members, new and old, spanning all age groups and walks of life, could be spotted at Sunday’s celebration. Clapping their hands, singing and dancing, they were brimming with enthusiasm for the milestone reached by a place many refer to as their second home. In addition to many Church members being on hand, so too were local dignitaries. Among them, the City of Newburgh Mayor, Judy Kennedy. Because the anniversary service fell one day shy of Veteran’s Day, the Mayor, along with attendees, recognized the military services of Ebenezer members.

“Veterans play an important part in our country and culture,” said Kennedy, whose father and two brothers are war veterans. “I really appreciate the fact that my father and brothers were able to come home, but realize not all are so lucky; we really need to have our hearts out there to always support our veterans.” Other dignitaries present were Ebenezer’s own, Deacon Curlie W. Dillard, who recently won a County Legislator’s Seat as well as as guest speaker, Reverend Ronald O. Perry from Beacon’s Springfield Baptist Church.

Elaine Bevier, Ebenezer’s Church Clerk, as well as a member for approximately the past 50 years, has witnessed and experienced a host of challenges and joys during the latter half of its existence. Sunday, she was full of gratitude, participating in its 105th birthday.

“Today marks a great milestone for us as a church family, strengthening our commitment to and faith in God,” said Bevier. “With the passion and spiritual wisdom of Dr. Bruce Davis Sr., our membership has grown, and he has also extended himself into the community, getting involved with various issues arising in Newburgh.” Looking to the coming years, Bevier added, “We can only hope and pray that God will continue to bless us to strive harder toward Kingdom building, and with Pastor Davis, we believe we will.”

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